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19 October, 2004

A storm in a qahwa-cup?

Thicker than the morning smog and the evening dust-storms, the swirling fog of rumour continues in the United Arab Emirates. A thousand different accounts come from "top sources" and "senior officials" and "wives of close advisors" - all anonymous, all wildly contradicting one another. Islamic laws are cited in discussions of what could and couldn't have happened, as the chatter continues in coffee-houses, offices, through email, instant-messaging and internet discussion forums, spreading Chinese whispers to the far corners of the globe.

Now a company called Strategic Forecasting has published an analysis on the Succession Question, also citing many unnamed sources. It has been picked up by the Kuwait Times (gone but Mirror here) and Tunezine (mirror here). The article contains six possible succession outcomes, and even hints at civil war.

"Sources in Dubai told Stratfor the wife of a lower-level sheikh says the wives and families have standing orders to go to Oman or elsewhere in case of Sheikh Zayed’s death - because the power struggle could get ugly.

Whatever the outcome, let us all pray it is not Option 6. Which would be goodbye to life as we know it.

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